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Playing high school softball on the Bill Iovene Field at Sacred Heart Academy in Hamden can be an eye-catching experience. With a backdrop of trees and woods surrounding the facility, one can be lulled into a sense of serenity.

But it wasn’t a pretty experience for Jonathan Law head softball coach Melanie Paolini and her players on April 10, as the Eagles, battling both Pacer pitcher Molly Flowers (14 strikeouts) and their own defensive lapses (four errors) dropped a 6-5 nine-inning decision to the Pacers.

Law came back from a 3-1 deficit to score three runs in the sixth, then tacked on another in the seventh to take a 5-3 lead into the bottom of the inning.

That’s when a combination of an error, two walks and a wild pitch gave the Pacers a chance to score two runs and send the game into extra innings.

Courtney Nowicki’s base-hit up the middle in the last half of the ninth put it away for Sacred Heart, as the Pacers evened their record at 1-1 following a 6-3 loss the day before to Amity Regional.

“What hurt us the most was that of those 14 strikeouts, nine of them happened when our players were caught looking,” said Paolini, now in her ninth season at Law.

In addition to striking out 12, including the first two batters she faced, Bernard, a four-year starter, had three hits, scored a run and drove in one.

Also getting RBI’s for Law were Gege Romero and Madison Murphy, while Erin Saley added two hits and scored two runs.

In their three-run sixth inning, the Eagles took advantage of two Sacred Heart errors and an infield RBI-producing ground out by Murphy to get their runs.

Paolini made some defensive changes following the loss to Sacred Heart and, getting a great defensive game from sophomore shortstop Romero, the Eagles beat SCC Hammonasset Division rival Hand of Madison, 3-2, on April 12.

“We were starting two freshmen (Cassidy Boath and Anna Lynch) on the corners,” Paolini said.

“Boath was at third and Lynch was at first. “I decided to move Danielle Gray (a senior) from second to third and put Boath at second. It looks like it’s going to work out well.”

Amanda Leone, a junior catcher, along with Bernard, should be the teams’ best hitters.

“Amanda had a great pre-season,” Paolini said. “They really work well together. Amanda calls all of the pitches. Along with being a good, power hitter, she’s a smart catcher.”

With its infield now shored up, Paolini is also hoping for a good season from the teams’ outfield combination of Saley (a sophomore) in left with senior Stephanie Cameron in center and another senior, Justine Bannon, in right.

“With this group of kids, we should be able to go pretty deep both in the SCC (Southern Connecticut Conference) and the state tournament (Class L),” Paolini said.

“I see their skill level, which I like, and I know what they’re capable of. What we need to do is keep our confidence level high.”

Roundup

Law won a 2-1 road decision at North Haven in the season opener for both teams on April 9.

Amanda Leone had two hits, including a two-run home run in the top of the first inning. Gege Romero had a hit and scored a run.

Jenna Bernard struck out seven and gave up only two hits to secure the win.

Jonathan Law defeated Daniel Hand, 3-2, in Madison on April 12. Stephanie Cameron had two hits and scored a run.

Cassidy Boath and Erin Saley had a hit and a run scored.

Jenna Bernard had two hits and allowed only four hits when Law softball team won a 5-2 decision from Guilford in Milford on April 14.

Megan Smith scored two runs for the Eagles, who scored four times in the first inning.